After a woman gives birth it is quite common to feel depressed, though this does not happen to everyone. Some women feel calm and happy, while 50-80% of women have short term feelings of anxiety, fearfulness, irritability and mild depression. This state of mind is referred to as the “baby blues,” which usually starts around the second or third day after birth, but usually lasts no more than a week.
Other post delivery problems include, but are not limited to:
* Backache (66%)
* Headache (58%)
* Sore stitches (49%)
* Hemorrhoids (39%)
The post-delivery backache and headache relate back to the strain that was experienced during the birth process. The severe postnatal headache that is often associated to an epidural should pass within 24 to 48 hours. The stitches needed after an episiotomy may cause discomfort in the genital area. Hemorrhoids are swollen varicose veins, which appear around the rectal area during pregnancy, and more often by pushing the baby out at delivery.
If baby blues have not disappeared within two weeks, the mother should consult with her physician because the possibility exists that the condition can turn into a more serious form of depression called Postnatal Depression (PND). PND occurs in about one in every ten women in four to six weeks after delivery, and some have even developed the symptoms up to six months later!
The symptoms of Post natal depression range from sleeplessness, obsessive anxiety and worrying thoughts, feeling fatigued, miserable and inadequate. PND is considered a physical illness, occurring because of a drop in pregnancy hormones, aggravated by fatigue, physical discomfort and concerns about being able to properly care for the baby.
Baby Blues and PSD are caused by the same let-down of pregnancy hormones, its just that some people experience these changes in hormones more dramatically than others do.
The most serious post-natal depression is call postpartum psychosis, where about one in one thousand mothers can completely lose touch with reality.
For a backache avoiding tea and coffee, and drinking plenty of water has helped many women, as well as reducing light and movement. Helping the mother learn how to sit while breastfeeding is also helpful, such as using pillows and other supportive back rests. Warm baths, and simple stretching exercises are often very helpful.
For stitches it is advised to use a child’s swimming ring to sit on which will take pressure off of the sore area, and you can sit on this ring while taking a warm salt-water bath if desired. (The salt will encourage the healing process.)
Keeping the vaginal area clean and dry, and using a pain gel can also be helpful.
For hemorrhoids, anti hemorrhoid creams might be helpful, along with mild laxatives to avoid constipation, which make hemorrhoids worse. If hemorrhoids refuse to leave after about six months they can be surgically removed.
Baby blues generally don’t need treatment, except for the loving help and kindness of her partner, family and friends. With emotional support and treatment Postnatal depression can usually be cured within three months. PND can also be treated with:
* Extra help
* Plenty of sleep
* Hormonal treatments and/or antidepressants
A mother who develops postpartum psychosis needs to be hospitalized in order to assist her in a complete recovery. The hospital needs to recognize the right of baby and mother to remain together, if the hospital won’t recognize this right find another one that will. A mother being separated from her baby is not helpful in her healing process, and it is not in the best interests of the baby either. This separation could cause problems with the chemical oxytocin, the bonding chemical which helps to bind us to those we love.
Some of the treatments might be:
* Partner and family support
What are some natural remedies for Postnatal and other postnatal problems?
*Vitamin B and chromium for stabalizing energy (Vitamin E helps heal stitches too)
*For sore stitches apply lavendar and camomile, apricot and peach oil (made up by an aromatherapist)
A Nutritionist might suggest that after pregnancy a woman is lacking minerals and vitamins, which is what contributes to depression, so she might advise vitamin C, B-Complex, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium supplements.
Healing herbs for Postnatal Depression:
* Red Raspberry
Healing Nutrients and Phytochemicals:
For back pain:
* Garlic chives
There are many alternative methods to consider with any health problem or emotional issue that might afflict us. Some people swear on acupuncture as a way of balancing a woman’s hormonal levels after pregnancy. Acupuncture, they say can reduce the risk of depression by helping to release anti-depressive substances naturally from within the woman’s body.
Many women have found stress-reduction techniques, Yoga, therapeutic breathing and meditation a helpful tool. And why not? We are beautifully and wonderfully made with vast resources for finding the resources inside of ourselves in which to heal.